Short Communication

Monitoring in situ performance of pervious concrete in British
Columbia—A pilot study
Rishi Gupta *
Civil & Environmental Engineering Program, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Victoria, Canada
1. Introduction
Stormwater management has become a concern for cities and municipalities due to increased urbanization of residential
and commercial neighborhoods. In a built environment with significant amount of impervious surfaces and integration of
curb and gutter systems in our pavements, stormwater reaches the receiving water bodies much faster, in greater volume
and carries more pollutants. Cities and municipalities along with engineers, researchers and developers are exploring
different ways to reduce the impervious surfaces and to deal with stormwater management in a sustainable and
environment friendly manner. Porous pavement is found to be an effective measure to mitigate the impact of urbanization
on the environment. Without occupying any additional space, porous pavement on parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways
provides multiple benefits, i.e. promotes infiltration, reduces peak flows and runoff volume, improves water quality, and
reduces thermal pollution, thus helping to maintain our delicate ecological balance and the environment we live in. Using
materials that allow water to permeate into the ground helps contribute to the ground water table. One such material that
can be used to construct porous pavements and porous urban surfaces is ‘‘pervious concrete.’’ This type of concrete has high
permeability and allows rain water to permeate.
According to Sustainable Concrete Canada (2012), the pervious concrete system can have the following impact on the
environment: eliminating time consuming and costly storm water detention facilities and underground piping systems,
allowing water, air and nutrients to tree roots promoting healthy tree growth without damaging your pavement surface,
increasing the quantity of water which can be retained on your site and infiltrate into aquifers thus promoting healthy water
Case Studies in Construction Materials 1 (2014) 1–9
Article history:
Received 25 September 2013
Accepted 3 October 2013
Pervious concrete system
No-fines concrete
Stormwater management
Asphalt replacement
Modern day infrastructure calls for use of impervious surfaces and curb and gutter systems
on pavements to rapidly collect and transport rain runoff. Due to this stormwater reaches
the receiving water bodies rapidly, in greater volume and carries more pollutants than
natural conditions. Porous pavement on parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways provides a
solution to this problem. One such material that can be used to produce porous surfaces is
pervious concrete. Even though no-fines concrete mix has been used for many years, there
are still many outstanding issues related to its structural performance and issues with
reduced percolation capacity over time especially when exposed to real conditions. This
paper presents a case study describing a project in British Columbia, Canada where
1000 ft
of asphalt was replaced with a pervious concrete system. The details of the unique
construction technique including details of the material used are described in this paper.
On-going tests to monitor the performance of this test slab are also described.
ß 2013 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works License, which
permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
* Tel.: +1 250 721 7033.
E-mail address:
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Case Studies in Construction Materials
j our nal homepage: www. el sevi er . com/ l ocat e/ cscm
2214-5095/$ – see front matter ß 2013 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
levels which sustain our streams and drinking water, eliminating the expense of curbs and gutters, reclaiming valuable
property otherwise consumed by stormwater tanks and ponds, preventing harmful hydrocarbons, and other pollutants from
reaching our waterways which commonly occur with conventional stormwater systems. Pervious concrete is being used for
many applications including use as a paving material for parking lots, lightweight structural walls, tennis courts, and
greenhouse floors (ACI Committee 522, 2006). Pervious concrete is also known as ‘‘no-fines’’ concrete. Pervious concrete
reduces storm water pollution at the source, control storm water runoff, and eliminate or reduce the size of storm sewers
(Schokker, 2010). However, there are many issues related to pervious concrete that still need to be further investigated to
improve its life and performance during service. Some of the current issues for pervious concrete are as follows.
1.1. Clogging
When small material such as dirt and fine sand are carried by storm water through the pores of pervious concrete, the
debris can eventually reduce the effectiveness of the drainage and permeability of the concrete. Such clogging could then
lead to flooding and the concrete being susceptible to extensive freeze–thaw cycles (Deo et al., 2010). One issue associated
with this is the requirement to maintain the slabs by frequent power washing to unclog the pores.
1.2. Abrasion resistance
As the bonding in pervious concrete is aggregate-to-aggregate rather than the aggregate embedded in a cementitious
paste like in regular concrete, pervious concrete has poorer mechanical properties. Pervious concrete is susceptible to
abrasion failure caused by the surface course being worn off or crushed under traffic loads (Wu et al., 2011). This
phenomenon is sometimes referred to as ‘‘raveling.’’
1.3. Freeze and thaw
When pervious concrete is exposed to cold climates, there is a possibility the concrete would undergo extensive freeze–
thawcycles if the placement was fully saturated. This leads to pressure on the thin cement paste surrounding the aggregates
and a loss of durability of the concrete (Kevern et al., 2010).
To study these issues, a project was recently initiated by the author at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in
Canada. This project involved replacing a section of the asphalt paved surface in a parking lot with pervious concrete. The aim
of this project is to determine the feasibility of using pervious concrete on a larger scale, especially as an alternative to using
asphalt for paving. The pilot slab is being exposed to real environmental conditions and traffic. The observations and test
results fromthis study will help address above-mentioned issues and determine the feasibility of using larger placements in
the future especially when using in regions that are prone to freeze–thaw cycles. In this paper, the procedure used to
construct this non-traditional systemof pervious concrete as a pavement is discussed and the on-going tests to monitor the
performance of the pavements are described. Some of the initial test results are also presented.
2. Construction details
The site is located at the northernarea of Parking Lot F at the Burnaby campus of BCIT, Canada (Fig. 1a). The placement size
is 24 ft Â40 ft, and covers three parking stalls (794, 795, and 796) and the roadway adjacent to it. The site location was
specifically chosen to study the effect of standing traffic, moving traffic, and turning vehicles.
The construction of the concrete slab was completed in three major stages: excavation and asphalt removal, subbase fill,
and the concrete placement and curing. The details of each are described below.
2.1. Excavation
The existing asphalt was saw cut to form straight edges and 12 in. deep excavation was done. The soil below the asphalt
pavement consisted of sandy soil for the top 6 in., and sandy clay in the lower 6 in. Sets of perforated pipes were placed below
lanes 795 and 796 located at west end of the test slab (Fig. 1b). One set was placed at the bottomof the clear crush and one at
the bottomof the 6 in. thick pervious concrete slab (Photos 1 and 2). Separate pipes were used at each level under lot 795 and
796 to study the reduction in percolation capacity (if any) by not maintaining (power washing) one section of the pavement.
In this study, lot 795 will be maintained and lot 796 will be left unmaintained. A small portion of the ditch north of the
placement (outside the test slab) was also excavated to accommodate a water collection systemfor testing purposes (Photo
3). The perforated pipes were 3 in. in diameter, 7 ft in length, and made from PVC.
2.2. Subbase fill
Once the excavation was complete, 6 in. of fractured clear crush with a maximum aggregate size of
4 in. was deposited
above the subgrade. The fill was then compacted using a vibratory roller and measured to gain a uniform depth of 6 in.
R. Gupta / Case Studies in Construction Materials 1 (2014) 1–9 2
throughout the placement. Photo 4 shows the clear crush being compacted by the vibratory compactor. The background of
Photo 4 also shows the simultaneous excavation of soil and the transportation of clear crush from a nearby deposited pile.
The clear crush is necessary for pervious concrete as it acts as a storage medium and a filtration system for water passing
through the pervious concrete. The crush also acts as a subbase for receiving the pervious concrete layer.
2.3. Concrete placement and curing
The concrete placement was divided into two equal bays as the width of the placement was limited by the length of the
roller screed that was approximately 12 ft. Bay 2 was placed after a seven day cure for the first bay. Fig. 1b illustrates the
division of the pavement into two bays. A proprietary concrete mix was supplied by the ready-mix supplier. The target
properties of the concrete mix reported by the supplier are given in Table 1. In addition to these properties, according to the
supplier, this product has a unit weight up to 30% less than conventional concrete and is workable for up to 90 min. The
placement was split into two bays to accommodate the roller screed that was used for this project, as the roller screed length

Photo 1. Perforated pipes above the subgrade.

Fig. 1. (a) Site location at BCIT’s Burnaby campus (inset – zoomed in view of the test slab). (b) Dimensions of the test slab.

Photo 2. Perforated pipes on top of crush connecting to ABS pipes.
R. Gupta / Case Studies in Construction Materials 1 (2014) 1–9 3
of 10 ft approximately matched the width of half the placement, or one bay. The site was prepared by adding minimal
formwork to split the placement and to create straight edges along the sides, as cracks occurred in the existing asphalt
surface during the excavation process. Photo 5 shows the compacted subbase prior to receiving the concrete placement.
Six inches of pervious concrete was placed on top of the compacted clear crush. The pervious concrete was then
immediately leveled using rakes and an aluminum roller screed for consolidation. Photo 6 shows a construction worker
leveling the pervious concrete with the roller screed in the foreground. The roller screed is essentially a hollow tube that is

Photo 4. Compaction of clear crush and simultaneous excavation.

Photo 3. Downstream end of pipes feeding into a collection chamber.
Table 1
Target properties of pervious concrete.
Strength (MPa) Slump (mm) Nominal MSA (mm) Void content (%)
Flexural Compressive
1.5–3 MPa 15 MPa 150 14 20
R. Gupta / Case Studies in Construction Materials 1 (2014) 1–9 4
filled with water for additional weight. The roller screed was approximately 50 pounds empty, and approximately 100
pounds when filled with water.
The estimated speed of rotation of the screed was approximately 250 rpm. A smaller second roller was also used in the
transverse direction to get the desired finish and compaction. Photo 7 shows the second roller in operation. The edges of the
placement were further lightly compacted by using a flat metal plate. This was done to form a level surface between the
existing asphalt and the pervious concrete. This process was also done to create level surfaces between the two placements
of the concrete. Once the concrete was placed and consolidated, the concrete was mist sprayed with water before being
protected by a thick sheet of polyethylene. This was done in accordance with the CSA A23.1-09 specifications for curing.
Photo 8 shows the finished placement with the polyethylene covering the pervious concrete. The second bay of the
placement was placed seven days after the initial placement. The inside edge of the concrete was sawcut to provide a smooth

Photo 5. Compacted crush ready to receive pervious concrete.

Photo 6. Roller screed and leveling of pervious concrete.

Photo 7. The second roller giving the desired finish of the concrete.
R. Gupta / Case Studies in Construction Materials 1 (2014) 1–9 5
edge prior to the second placement. Photo 9 shows the cured cross-section of the pervious concrete in Bay 1 (after 7 days of
concrete placement). The second placement had similar procedures to the first placement. Once the first concrete placement
was cured for 15 days and the second cured for 7 days, sawcuts were carried out. One sawcut was made to reduce the length
of the placement to half (20 ft).
2.4. Concrete sample collection
There are no standard test methods that describe molding specimens for compression testing using pervious concrete,
however, concrete cylinders were constructed on-site with simulated compaction for further analysis in the lab. For both
placements, pervious concrete samples were collected in cylindrical molds, 4 in. in diameter and 8 in. tall. A Marshall
hammer used in Asphalt testing was used to compact concrete as per the suggestion of the concrete supplier. Each cylinder
was subjected to three blows with a drop of about 6–12 in.
3. On-going research and preliminary results
Even though the recommended curing time is 28 days for this product, the test slab was opened to traffic 7 days after the
second bay was placed and 14 days after the first placement. The motivation to do this was to study the effect of opening
traffic at an early-age when concrete is not fully cured. Performance of the pervious concrete placement is currently being
monitored and some preliminary results available at this time have been described below.
3.1. Material density
Concrete densities were determined using the cylinders constructed during the two concrete placements. These
measurements were averaged using a minimumof 3 cylinders. The first placement consisted of two batches, and the average
density of the first batch was 1720 kg/m
, while the second batch was 1740 kg/m
. On the second placement date, the
average density of the cast cylinders was found to be 1720 kg/m
. These measured values are very consistent and represent a
very low batch variability.

Photo 8. Finished concrete slab (Bay 1) covered with polyethylene sheet.

Photo 9. Pervious concrete cross-section after saw cut.
R. Gupta / Case Studies in Construction Materials 1 (2014) 1–9 6
3.2. Compressive strength
Specimens were cast on-site using 4 in. concrete cylinder molds and a drop hammer to simulate approximately the
energy imparted by the rolling screed on the in-place concrete. Ideally, samples can be cored from the placement, but this
was not an option on this project, as closing of the parking lot for extracting samples was not an option. The cylinders
prepared on site were left on-site to expose them to the same conditions as the rest of the concrete placement. The average
compressive strength after 28 days for the samples was between 3 and 4 MPa.
3.3. Raveling
The pervious concrete placement has been divided into various zones: turning, driving, and parking. Visual observations
after 40 weeks of exposure has indicated noticeable wheel travel paths in the vehicle turning zone. The turning zone is
expected to experience high stresses and raveling forces from the turning vehicles. The paths appear to have lost between 1
and 3 aggregate layers. In the region of straight vehicle motion a uniform loss of aggregate has occurred and the parking
region shows little or no sign of raveling. Photo 10 shows the current state of the pervious concrete placement. The rate of
raveling observed during the first two months since placement seems to have reduced over time. As described earlier, one of
the factors that may have contributed to early raveling is the fact that the placement was opened to traffic within 7 days and
that a full 28 day cure was not allowed. Research is on-going to quantify the extent of raveling by using image analysis and
other non-destructive techniques. It should also be noted that the extent of raveling in the turning zones at the moment is
not severe enough to make the drive uncomfortable.
3.4. Percolation capacity
In-place filtration rates were measured according to ASTMC1701/C1701M, ‘‘Standard Test Method for Infiltration Rate of
in Place Pervious Concrete’’. This test method determines the field water infiltration rate of in-place pervious concrete.
Maintenance of the pilot slab will only be done on a specific side of the slab (40 ft length of stall 796, West side of Bay 1), thus,
filtration rate tests results will determine the extent of post maintenance recovery of percolation capacity. The ring used for
the percolation test along with the putty during a test is shown in Photo 11. The diameter of the steel ring is 300 mm and a
water head of 10–15 mm was used during the test as specified by the ASTM standard. Photo 1(b) shows the locations of the
tests conducted so far. The location of each of the tests will remain the same for any future tests to determine the change of

Photo 10. Current state of raveling in pervious concrete after 40 weeks in service.

Photo 11. Ring used for the in-place percolation test.
R. Gupta / Case Studies in Construction Materials 1 (2014) 1–9 7
infiltration rate with time. Frequent tests will occur for each side of the slab to gather results on both maintained and
unmaintained areas of the pilot slab.
The average percolation capacity of the placement after 30 weeks of service is still quite high at 60,000 mm/h for most of
the slab. The portion of the pavement downstream of the rest of the asphalt parking lot is in direct contact of the surface
runoff (shown by arrows in Photo 12). This portion of the pavement receives high sediment load and deleterious substances.
Due to this, the percolation capacity in this south side of the pavement is 1500 mm/h which represents more than 95%
reduction in the percolation capacity. However, this area represents a very small portion of the total area of the pavement.
Moreover, as is evident from Photo 12 during a measured 48 mm/h 15 min storm, the pavement was effective in capturing
the entire surface runoff and surface water within 2 ft of coming in contact with the pavement.
3.5. Quality of infiltrated water
In the ditch north of the pilot slab, a water collection system was set up to gather the infiltrated water through the four
sets of perforated pipes embedded in pervious concrete. Two sets are located at the subgrade of the placement, and the other
two sets are located above the 6 in. clear crush as described earlier. The perforated pipes are in distinct locations to collect
water differentiated by the maintained and unmaintained areas of the slab. This is done to determine the quality and
quantity of water percolating through the pavement. The collected water is controlled by valves for the individual set of
pipes. Water from each of the pipes can then be held through a water tank in a pit within the ditch north of the concrete
placement. The process of conducting water quality tests is shown in Photo 13(a) and (b). Initial tests indicate a slight
reduction in the COD of the infiltrated water when compared to surface runoff entering the pavement. More tests need to be
conducted to confirm these findings.
4. Concluding remarks
A case study is presented that describes a 1000 ft
pilot placement of pervious concrete in a parking lot that is serving as a
non-conventional paving material in an urban environment. A network of embedded perforated pipes is being used to
monitor the capacity of the pavement to absorb and detain the rain runoff and its effect on improving quality of permeated
runoff. The innovative construction procedure is comparable to conventional construction and a desired finish/texture for a
parking lot can be achieved. The lack of an existing technique to manufacture molded specimens for compression testing
may have partly contributed to the lowmeasured compressive strength. Higher levels of raveling are observed in the turning
zones as compared to the driving and parking zones. The rate of raveling seems to be slowing over time and on-going
research involves developing a non-contact technique to quantify raveling. Percolation capacity of the pavement is currently
being monitored and even though some parts of the pavement have reduced percolation capacity owing to clogging, the
overall capacity of the pavement and its effectiveness in capturing surface runoff remains high. Water samples collected
fromthe embedded pipes when compared to surface run off entering the systemhave a slightly lower COD. Further tests are
underway to confirm these findings.

Photo 12. Run-off being captured by pervious concrete.

Photo 13. (a and b) Water quality tests underway in the environmental lab.
R. Gupta / Case Studies in Construction Materials 1 (2014) 1–9 8
The project described here was primarily funded by the Green Value Strategies Fund awarded to the author at the British
Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). The author would like to thank the various students involved in this project: Amos
Kim, Dustin Erickson, and Shaldon Dutt. The support of BCIT Parking and Security, BCIT Department of Civil Engineering
(including Dr. Nazmun Nahar), the Ready mix supplier, and the subcontractors involved in the construction work is greatly
ACI Committee 522. 522R-06: pervious concrete. Farmington Hills, USA: American Concrete Institute; 2006.
ASTM C1701/C1701M. Standard test method for infiltration rate of in place pervious concrete. Philadelphia, USA: American Society for Testing of Materials; 2009 .
Deo O, Sumanasooriya M, Neithalath N. Permiability reduction in pervious concretes due to clogging: experiments and modeling. J Mater Civil Eng
Kevern JT, Wang K, Schaefer VR. Effect of coarse aggregate on the freeze–thaw durability of pervious concrete. J Mater Civil Eng (May):2010;469–75.
Schokker AJ. The sustainable concrete guide – strategies and examples. U.S. Green Concrete Council; 2010.
Sustainable Concrete Canada. Website accessed; 2012.
Wu H, Huang B, Shu X, Dong Q. Laboratory evaluation of abrasion resistance of portland cement pervious concrete. J Mater Civil Eng (May):2011;697–702.
R. Gupta / Case Studies in Construction Materials 1 (2014) 1–9 9